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Gloucestershire Business News

Eviction ban extension in "nick of time"

An extension to the ban on businesses being evicted for non-payment of rent until March has come in the "nick of time" according to a leading retail association.

The moratorium on evictions in England had been due to end at the end of the month, but the Government has agreed the "final extension" for landlords and tenants to reach an agreement on unpaid rent.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "This news comes in the nick of time for many retailers.

"With footfall down and many stores completely shut in November, many are counting on December sales to claw back some of the lost turnover from this year.

"This extension will give hard-pressed retailers breathing space to trade their way out of rent arrears that may have built up during lockdown."

She continued: "We hope landlords and tenants will use this time to jointly agree new rent terms and payment plans to deal with any outstanding arrears."

The extension was also welcomed by UKHospitality, but the trade body warned further financial support will be necessary to avoid a surge in evictions in April.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "This is a very welcome respite and it will be crucial in ensuring that more businesses do not fall off an immediate cliff edge.

"Hospitality businesses that have been hammered all year long were staring down the barrel of mass failures and job losses without this.

"If it is to be the final extension to the moratoria, then it is absolutely crucial that it is followed swiftly by a cohesive and comprehensive package of recovery measures from the Government."

She continued: "The focus now needs to turn to helping businesses begin to get back towards full strength and trade their way out of danger.

"An extension to the business rates holiday and VAT cut are a must, alongside loans to tenants where landlords have provided rent concessions.

"The Government must facilitate a resolution to the problem of rent debt which has built up over a devastating year."

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said tenants able to pay their rent should continue to do so.

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